Malacanang ‘crucified’ public sector workers, COMELEC workers demand wage hike


Reference:        Mac Ramirez , Vice-President for Internal Affairs


Date:                April 19, 2011

Malacanang ‘crucified’ public sector workers, COMELEC workers demand wage hike

Employees of the Commission on Elections, through its union, the Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service (ACES); has likened the suffering of state workers brought about by the worsening price crisis and low wages in the country, to the pain and agony suffered by Jesus Christ at the foot of Mt. Calvary.

“COMELEC employees, like all rank and file workers in government, are being made to suffer at the ‘Calvary’ of skyrocketing prices of food, oil and other basic necessities,” stated Mac Ramirez, ACES Vice-President for Internal Affairs.

“It is but imperative for the government, as our employer, to assuage our agony by providing a substantial pay hike for all government employees as this would provide us with immediate economic relief amid the worsening price crisis in the country.”

But with Malacanang’s recent refusal to increase the state workers’ salaries, the government – according to Ramirez – “not only prolonged state workers’ agony but practically nailed them to the cross of dirt wages, poverty and destitution.”

This, Ramirez said, is indicative of the government’s “utter insensitivity towards the plight of 1.4 million government employees nationwide.”

Malacanang missing the point

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda recently thumbed-down calls for a pay hike in the public sector, saying that the government is “limited by law” and therefore can not act on the demand for a substantial wage increase. Lacierda intimated that the government’s hands are tied because wage increase in the public sector is governed by the Salary Standardization Law (SSL3), which provides a staggered wage adjustment scheme for state workers. SSL3 will be fully implemented in 2012.

But according to Ramirez, “Malacanang is completely missing the point.”

“Even if SSL3 is implemented today, the resulting minimum pay will only amount to P9,000, which is far below the Php29,000 estimated monthly cost of living.”

Ramirez said the ACES are supportive of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees’ (COURAGE) call for a P6,000 increase in the minimum pay of all government employees.

On May 1, COMELEC employees will join workers in both the private and public sector in the streets to commemorate Labor Day. ###

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